Sonny Watson's Homepage
Ballrooms | Blog| Burlesque | Contests | Dances | Dancers | Dance History | Marathons | Movies | Music | Posters Store | Sheet Music | Troupes || Refresh Page
History Index HomePage
Music Lists: Contemporary WCS| Trad'l WCS| C/W Swing| Big Band| Disco| Gospel| Holiday| Hustle| Late Night| Latin| Latin WCS| Mash-Ups| NC2S| Techno
You Are here: Search Streetswing Site Site Search --->

Arkansas Traveller Arkansas Traveler

    The vintage Arkansas Traveler dance is said to have originated in the Connecticut Valley around 1860 where it got its name from a peddler who "hawked" his merchandise up and down the valley while telling everyone he came from Arkansas. The dance was dedicated to this peddler.

    The Arkansas traveller was basically a barn dance that had twice the number of calls as the other dances of the time to symbolize the peddlers travels. During this time the Waltz was virtually unknown to the peasant dancers. The Arkansas Traveler is also known as the Essence of Old Virginia. Now is considered part of the Square dance family and mostly as a song rather than a dance from.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Connecticut Valley 1860 a Peddler ? Folk / Square

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music preview clip

Music Titles

n/a The Arkansas Traveller Video Clip not available at this time An Arkansas Traveller
Video Clip not available at this time The Legend of the Arkansas Traveller
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Arkansas Traveller (1909) Vaudeville Recording
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
The Arkansas Traveller
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
The Arkansas Traveller (The Huckleberries)
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
The New Arkansas Traveller (Skillet Lickers)

Nightcubs, etc.



1736 - Black Horse Tavern (N.Y) n/a Annapolis
Charleston, SC
Merry Mount, MA
Williamsburg, VA.



Ballets / Stage

n/a n/a n/a



Other Related Dances of the time...

Basse Dances Chicken Reel Hornpipe La Volta Reels
Barn Dance Contredanse, la Jig Old Paul Jones Square Dance
Buck Dance Clog Lancers Pigeon Wing Virginia Reels
Carmagnole, la Folk Landler Quadrilles Virginia Essence

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


n/a Prince Of Wales

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher
Down Memory Lane Murray, Arthur 1954 Greenberg

Musicians / Bands



Harl McDonald (1899-1955) n/a Casimer Gregory Stapko
Jean Guion (c. 1949)

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Appalachian Dulcimer Minuet Settlements
Banjo English Morris Square Dance
Barn Dance Fiddle Puritan Tavern
Birdie in a cage Flute Ritual Huskin'
Contradnse Folk Round Dance
Country Jig (Gigg)  

Lyrics ...

      O Once up-on a time in Arkansas, ... An old man sat in his lit-tle ca-bin door,
And fid-dled at a tune that he liked to hear,... A jol-ly old tune that he play-ed by ear.
It was rain-in hard, but the fid-dler did'nt care, ... He saw-ed a-way at the pop-ular air,
Tho' his roof tree leak-ed like a wa-ter fall, ... that didn't seem to bo-ther the man at all.
      A traveler was riding by that day, ... And stopped to hear him a practicing away;
The cabin was afloat and his feet were wet, ... But still the old man did't seem to fret.
So the Stranger said, ... "Now the way it seems to me you had better mend your roof" said he.
But the old man said, as he played away ... "I couldn't mend it now i'ts a rainy day'"
      The Traveler replied: "That's all quite true,
But this I think is the thing for you to do; ... Get busy on a day tha's fair and bright,
Then patch the old roof till it's good and tight." ... But the old man kept a playing at his reel,
And tapped the ground with his leathery heel: ... "Get along," said he, for you give me a pain:
my cabin never leaks when it does'nt rain."